*Renown stage, screen and TV actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste is the heavy hitter FBI chief Bethany Mayfair in the most talked about new NBC TV series this season, “Blindspot.”
In an exclusive interview with Marie Moore for the Electronic Urban Report/EUR, Jean-Baptiste gave some insight into why there is so much talk and what the public should expect.
Marie Moore: How does it feel being part of one of the most anticipated shows this season?
MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE: It’s great. But more importantly than the talk is the quality of the work, and doing the best that you can. I think it’s a good show. It’s blended very well, the mystery, the action and the character development. You’re going to find out a lot about these characters.
MM: What was most appealing for you when you were asked?
MJ: For me, I love a good old mystery. The whole premise of this woman being covered with tattoos, not knowing who she is, and trying to discover her identity. And at the same time discovering that these incidents are actually clues that are revealing certain crimes and predicting disasters that are about to happen was really interesting to me. Discovering this treasure map [on Jane Doe], trying to work out where it’s leading, who is responsible for it were all draws.
MM: You are a veteran of crime of dramas, spending seven year on “Without a Trace,” even directing a segment. How does this differ?
MJB: Obviously, I’ve done a lot of research previously with the FBI, etc. So it was working out what is different about these two women. How much weight does this one have, the likeness, the pressure, and picking up the different nuances, those sort changes.
MM: What else should we expect that’s different about your character?
MJB: Basically, she’s the deputy director for the FBI, and this team of agents. She is a very powerful woman within that context, and with that comes a lot of pressure and a lot of weight. It’s revealed in the pilot that she might know more about this character Jane Doe, the tattooed woman than she’s revealing so we don’t quite know whether she’s on the good side or the bad.
MM: Writing, performing, how do you have time to pursue your musical endeavors?
MJB: [Laughs] I don’t know. I mean I just do it. It’s like when we have a few days off, I’m either painting, drawing, reading, writing or playing music.
Jean-Baptiste received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for her feature-film debut in Mike Leigh’s “Secrets and Lies.” She recently co-starred on the hit ITV drama “Broadchurch,” playing a role written especially for her by the show’s writer and creator, Chris Chibnall. For “Without a Trace,” she and her cast were nominated for a SAG Award, and she was nominated for a NAACP Award for three years in a row.
“Blindspot” airs Monday nights at 9/8c on NBC
EUR BONUS COVERAGE: Marianne Jean-Baptiste Discusses Her Character, Bethany Mayfair:
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]